Joaquin Phoenix dances around questions concerning his potential involvement in the Joker origin movie. Last year, word broke that Warner Bros. and DC were working on a non-DCEU Joker movie that would be set in the '80s and serve as a gritty noir about the character's early days. With Martin Scorsese producing and The Hangover's Todd Phillips writing and directing, fans didn't quite know what to make of the news.
The situation grew all the more curios earlier this month, when word broke that Phoenix is in talks for the Joker origin movie. The gifted and often eccentric actor is cut from the same cloth as others who have portrayed the Clown Prince of Crime, and his prestige indicates that the film was headed in a solid direction. Nothing has been confirmed by either WB or DC at this point - and Phoenix himself is similarly keeping quiet for the time being.
French publication Allocine spoke with Phoenix recently and couldn't help asking about the news of him starring in a Joker movie. The actor claimed that he had never even heard of the project until now, answering “What movie about the Joker?” when asked about his possible involvement.
Responses like this have become common in Hollywood, as news about casting often circulates before the actors have even officially signed on. The initial report came from a reliable source, suggesting that Phoenix has indeed heard about the role and is simply playing coy for now. He said the film "sounds amazing" when the reporter described it to him, but he continued to deny knowledge of it, adding “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Don’t be sorry.”
If nothing else, Phoenix seemed to take the report in stride. And if he's already been cast, then he's doing a great job denying it. Phoenix has been known to go out of his way to immerse himself in his roles, most memorably for the pseudo-documentary I'm Still Here. Though news of Jared Leto going method as Joker for Suicide Squad was apparently blown out of proportion, it's not hard to imagine Phoenix going deep into the role.
Until Phoenix is officially confirmed, fans likely won't breathe a sigh of relief about the latest take on the Joker. Then again, even if the actor does sign on, he will be put in an interesting predicament. DC could have 3 Jokers in 2019, what with the origin film, Suicide Squad 2 (with Leto reprising his role), and Gotham all offering live-action takes on the character. Still, if anyone can rise above the Joker rabble, it's Phoenix.